Effective project management is all about achieving objectives successfully by planning and organizing resources, and much of it is common sense.
To get the desired result from a business project, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve. It often helps to break down larger projects into smaller manageable stages to ensure effective project management.
Decide what needs to be done, by who, by when and with what resources. You also need to identify which activities need to be completed before others can be started — and those that can be undertaken in parallel. This will give you a clear idea of the timescales you will need to work to.
Next, you need to identify key risks, such as unexpected costs or technical issues, and do what you can to minimize their likelihood before they happen.
Importantly, you need to work out a budget for the project — making sure you include different overheads such as staffing or materials as well as the overall cost — and set a deadline for completion. Drawing up performance indicators or setting regular “milestones” along the way will help you evaluate progress and alert you to any problems.
I’ve seen many projects fail because businesses didn’t spend enough time finding out what their customers wanted or where they simply overlooked the budget.
In small firms, where time and resources are often limited, it may be worth appointing a dedicated project manager or “champion”, who can be the main point of contact.
At the very least, make sure that everyone working on the project is clear about their responsibilities, deadlines and aims before you start. You also need to be aware that some people may have different expectations of what will be achieved; and don’t forget that good people management is a crucial element to effective project management.
In my forthcoming articles on Effective Project Management, I will share with you some of my past experiences, on how managers use given resources to achieve maximum productivity along with employee and customer satisfaction, i.e. a win-win situation.